If only the world operated on a no holds barred honesty policy, I think it would be a better place. I don’t mean an aggressive ‘well, I tell it like it is to their face’ kinda attitude (that seems to be thrown around like its something to be proud of at the moment), but the kind of quiet, at peace honesty that just means that people are open and everyone knows where they stand.
There’d be no awkward feelings, everyone would embrace differences. There’d be comfort in knowing that someone out there felt just like you do. There’d be no taboo subjects, no embarrassment or shame. Diversity would be normality, ‘problems’ would be easily solved with shared knowledge, there’d be a much greater sense of community. Nothing would be swept under the carpet. Subjects like mental health wouldn’t be frowned upon, no one would feel isolated.
So why aren’t we all honest? I often feel like an oddity. When playing a team building game with colleagues, we were asked to cross the line if there were things about us that no one knew. I stayed where I was. I was the only one. I could not think of a single thing that I would not be prepared to share. Anything people don’t know is simply because the topic hasn’t come up in conversation.
Am I unwise to share so much of myself? Am I leaving myself vulnerable, open to criticism and judgement? And if I am, so what? I’m always open to feedback, willing to learn and grow. Maybe if more of society was honest with each other, there would be no place for negative remarks. There might be more room for empathy and compassion.
I hope that sharing my experiences of depression and anxiety is doing something towards breaking down the barriers around mental health issues. It’s widely reported that 1 in 3 of us will suffer at some juncture in our lives. If it’s so common, why isn’t it an every day, almost mundane conversation? Discussed at the pub, on the bus, over coffee and cake? Why do sufferers feel isolated, embarrassed, ashamed of their dark thoughts? I don’t want my daughter growing up in a society where anything that makes you who you are should be suppressed for fear of judgement, whether that’s any mental health issue she may struggle with, her sexuality, her career choice, her religious beliefs. Maybe its time we were all a little more up front and honest with each other.
As many, many generations of know-it-all mothers have said before me: Honesty is the best policy.